Difference Between Exercise Mat and Yoga Mat – For 2021

The importance of exercise in our daily lives cannot be ignored. It can help us adjust our physical health as well as our spiritual and mental health. But as technology is slowly becoming more advanced day by day, we have also started taking physical exercise for granted.

To stay healthy and fit, each day the human body needs at least half an hour of exercise. Aerobics, Pilates, basic yoga and strength training are some of the methods to give the body proper exercise. But whatever way you choose, having the right gears and equipment for exercise is necessary.

Mats are some of the most commonly used exercise gear available in the market. They come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. As we have varying styles and tastes, these mats also come in unique patterns.

But what we often do is get confused between exercise mats and yoga mats. We have no idea that the two are for entirely different purposes. Using the right mat during a workout is a must, as it provides you with comfort and is more effective.

That is why we have written this article to inform you about the differences between exercise mats vs. a yoga mat. The article is aimed to help you with choosing the right mat that meets your preferences and needs.

How to Know The Difference Between Exercise Mats and Yoga Mats

To tell you the truth, at first glance, differentiating between an exercise mat and Yoga mat is hard. They sometimes look very identical. But once you do a little bit of research and have a better look at them, you will start the differences.

If you don’t do proper research, you might end up buying the wrong mat, which would be of no use to you.

But what are the qualities one should look at when differentiating between an exercise mat and yoga mat? Well, some factors will help you to distinguish between the two types of mats. But first, let’s get a basic idea of what the two mats are.

What Is Exercise Mat

Exercise mats are thick mats, usually one to three inches thick. Exercise mats sometimes called gym mats, are commonly used in gyms.

Exercise mats are thick because they need to protect your body as well as the floor beneath them. Exercise mats are a favorite among fitness enthusiasts who like performing floor-based workout routines like planks and Russian twists.

Exercise mats are usually extensive but are foldable for secure storage and set-up purposes. The mat is also easy to clean and is made from dense foam which has a vinyl cover. You can quickly wipe clean an exercise math with a wet cloth.

The mats are prepared to support body weight. Whether you are lying down, on your side or sitting down, an exercise mat provides you with the right comfort and support needed.

exercise mat

What Is Yoga mat

Yoga mats are thinner than exercise mats. As the name suggests, they are the preferred choice by yoga enthusiasts. Yoga mats are the ideal choice for low impact exercises. That is why they are thinner compared to exercise mats.

Yoga mats usually have a thickness between 1/8-inch to ¼-inch. They are portable and easy to carry around, so some call them travel yoga mats.

Most yoga enthusiasts tend to buy yoga mats made of PVC. PVC made Yoga mats have added stickiness to them, so you will never slip on them.

Plus they provide the user with added comfort as PVC mats are very spongy.  There are also other materials like recycled rubbers, vinyl, jute fibers and natural and organic cotton from which Yoga mat is made.

yoga mat

Exercise Mat vs. Yoga Mat


Yoga mats

Yoga mats are also cushioned, but not what you would call “well-cushioned.” This is because yoga mats are usually made for lighter exercises like yoga and stretches.  They will not absorb shock when you fall but do have a sticky adhesive like surface. The surface becomes sticky when you sweat, and so your feet or body stick to the mat firmly. This is why you won’t slip on a yoga mat.


Exercise mats

Exercise mats usually have a non-slip surface as protection. They also come with a vinyl coating on top, so there are fewer chances of you slipping on the mat, and getting injured badly. Yoga mats cling firmly to most surfaces and have an excellent overall grip on them. Yoga mats also have a cushion-like surface which can absorb shock. So if you by any chance fall, you won’t get injured in any way.


Exercise mats

Exercise mats are very durable. As they are made from high-quality foam and rubber-like materials, they last you longer than yoga mats. You can use an exercise mat for more than a year. The more moisture resistant your exercise mat is, more durable it will be.


Yoga mats

Yoga mats aren’t that durable and need changing after a few months of use. This is because they are thin in thickness, and are not very moisture resistant. You can, however, buy vinyl coated PVC yoga mats, which will last you more than a few months.

Portability and storage:

Exercise mats

Though exercise mats are foldable and easy to carry around, they are not very travel-friendly. This is because exercise mats are more extensive than yoga mats. They can be folded up and stored in a closet or cupboard, and that’s about it. Exercise mats when folded up to become rather heavy.

Yoga mats

A Yoga mat is made for traveling. Yoga enthusiasts usually don’t stick to one place or venue for yoga and tend to move around. They are specially made light-weight for easy travel and storage purpose. They can be folded up to fit in the back of your car


Exercise mats

The regular exercise mat is very thick and has a cushiony surface. This cushion-like surface provides the user with added comfort when doing heavy lifting exercises or workouts. An exercise mat is perfectly thick and has a vinyl coated surface which does not get soggy after an hour of workout.


Yoga mats

Yoga mats are thinner in size and have minimum cushioning. They do not need much cushioning, as Yoga mats are used just for yoga or light exercise. They have the right amount of cushioning for very light exercises.


Exercise mats

Exercise mats made of Styrofoam and thus are easily cleanable. You can wipe an exercise mat clean using a bucket of warm water and a wiping cloth. After cleaning they become good as new.

Yoga mats

Yoga mats are often made of the same material as exercise mats, in which case you can clean them the same way. But if your yoga mat is made of PVC material, then it is better to add a bit of vinegar to the warm water used to clean the mat.


Exercise mats

Exercise mats are bit pricier than yoga mats and cost around $15 to 50 dollars. They are long lasting mats, so the pricing is justifiable.

Yoga mats

Yoga mats are changed from time to time, so yoga mat manufacturers have kept the pricing within a reasonable price range. They usually cost around $10 to $20.  The higher-priced yoga mats available in the market have better quality though.

They come with anti-tear technology as well, making them a bit higher priced than regular ten and twenty dollar yoga mats.


Tips about choosing

Through this article, we wanted to encourage exercise among everyone.  We can all dedicate a few hours of our daily lives in exercising. That is why you would need either an exercise mat or yoga mat as your daily exercise companion.

If you are planning on doing heavy exercises and gymnastics, an exercise mat or gym mat would be a perfect choice. Exercise mats are also useful for martial arts.

If you are more of a spiritual person and love doing light exercises like yoga, then yoga mats are the right choice for you.

The markets and online stores are nowadays flooded with low-quality exercise and yoga mats. We suggest you look into a mat carefully before choosing one for yourself.

Whichever mat you choose, we are now sure that you know the basic factors that differentiate an exercise mat from a yoga mat. You will now be able to make a decent choice when buying either of the two.

Choosing the right mat for yourself is also necessary, as getting the wrong one might end up with you getting badly injured. Also using the wrong mat has other medical or health implications.


If you are still finding it difficult to buy the right mat for yourself, you can always write to us, and we’ll help you with some product links of the best exercise and yoga mats available right now. We sincerely hope your search for the right yoga or exercise mat is fruitful.

Team Chooserly

A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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